Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Review


I was probably 10 years old when a friend of my Mum came to visit from America and brought a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, which I stared at in amazement because the show had only began airing here a few months earlier. Since that moment, I have been a huge fan of card games. Several of us from the KJBcast podcast have actually played some nostalgic card games on a few occasions. It's nice to reminisce and replay the classics. That feeling I would get when I look at my deck and question if it is good enough to win my next match is exactly the feeling I get when I play the free-to-play hit, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. 

As I get my first pack to open in game I get reminded of that feeling of opening my booster packs that I would spend my pocket money on as a kid. I can almost smell it. This game has taken me on an intense nostalgia trip. I never really played MTG, so I missed that trend. Probably for the best as I likely wouldn't be able to afford this website if I was still collecting cards. 

I got a random hero to play with, and then I could battle other computer heroes to gradually unlock them all. You play 7 games against the computer to learn the basics, and then you can freely play against other players or the other heroes you want to unlock. I beat the first 7 games, how hard could it be? I picked the hero I wanted (The Orc, go figure?) and I challenged him. Immediately got PWNED. Gradually as I got crushed again and again I levelled up and got cards. This is where it got interesting.

With each card I got, my skills got better, too. I knew what I was doing and I was able to form strategies. Then it happened; I won. I went up against the next hero and won again. Then I went up against a real person and got crushed, but that's fine. I'll just go back to beating the computer to build back up the ego that got knocked down by some random gamer.

Basically it works that you have health on your hero. Usually 30 points. Your opponent has that, too. Each deck will be different, but each hero has their own unique cards that they can use, along with cards that all the heroes can avail of. Along with that, each hero has their own special ability that they can use for mana points.

Mana points are cleverly done. Every turn you obtain a new point, up to 10. You can only use whatever amount of points you have each turn, so you need to be smart about how you play. If you have only 2 points, you won't be playing a lvl 6 card. You hero's special ability is also run with mana, so if you want to use that along with playing a card, you want to plan ahead. Each power is different. Some damage you, some damage your opponent, some protect you and so on.

Like in each card game, there is monster, spell and traps. The monsters are your main cards that you use to attack, the spells are used to draw cards or cause damage, and the traps are triggered upon specific actions, like your opponent attacking or playing a spell. 

You can pay your way to get ahead, or just play your way to get ahead. You can earn money for packs and you can earn cards by simply playing, but you can also spend real currency on those things, too. It is completely optional, which is to be expected from free to play. 

Overall, the experience is incredible. It's a fantastic game with great characters, music and an addictive rewards system. 

Blizzard, I want my life back. 

Overall Score: 10/10

You can pick up Hearthstone for Mac/PC here or for iOS below


I have spent about 30 hours playing this game since I picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale and I have yet to successfully establish a self-sufficient town. My villagers always either freeze or starve. However, each time I play I get gradually better and better and make it further. 

Shining Rock Software have successfully created my new favourite city-builder. I cannot give this game enough praise. It has glitchy moments, and even game breakers, but 95% of the time, it works perfectly. 

Each game begins with a handful of villagers, a limited stock of supplies and seeds, a new procedurally-generated map and a few months before winter sweeps in. Like in other procedurally-generated games, you can use a seed to load a map. My current seed is 411809770, and it is amazing.

You want to start in a flat open space near water. Water gives you a trading route and a place to fish, and open space gives you room to expand as you go. 

Banished is based on a summer/winter cycle and the goal is simply to survive. The main threats are freezing and starving to death. Other threats include hurricanes and diseases. You start during summer and immediately land must be cleared, plots must be placed and those most critical buildings constructed immediately, in the limited time before winter indeed comes. Villagers will need homes, they'll need woodcutters to supply firewood, a blacksmith to make them tools and crops to feed them. 

In most games I play, money and resources are your main commodity. You work towards building those up, but in this game you are thinking about that almost last. You start by building those vital buildings, and by building houses to then build your population and therefore have workers to supply your homes with food and warmth. Its a crazy cycle. You need to constantly balance having enough people to work and enough resources to keep them alive. 

Banished doesn't appear as difficult as it actually is, but once death strikes your town, it usually takes everybody. Then you can either wait for repopulation and settlers, or you can start again. I have started over many many times. Each time you start again, you do better with the knowledge of what you went through last time. 

Banished's villagers are smart, independent people. This is a refreshing step up from most games. They work as hard as they can and, barring accidents, can be trusted to get on with whatever needs doing as long as their needs are met. Accidents can happen quite often and are genuinely spontaneous. My most frequently spotted deaths are death during child birth and crushed by a falling rock/tree. 

I am convinced that you can make a self-sustainable village, and that is my goal. I want to make a village that I can leave alone for 10 hours and it will still be standing strong. 

You will need to set up several foresters around the place. They will grow and cut down trees as they go, so I usually lead several roads out of my village and lead to open spaces for them to set up. They will supply you with endless logs which you can then use for building and firewood.

Tailors and traders are a wise move after you have established your basics. The tailor will give you clothing to keep you warm, and traders allow you to get new animals, crops and seeds along with other supplies you may need. You come to see deeper layers of complexity within the game, as you realise that more food types and different clothing make for happier, healthier townsfolk.

The glitches that break the game are incredibly frustrating, because there is simply nothing you can do. The main one that has hit me more than once is the "Walk of Death", a name coined by the Banished community. The villages will have plenty of food, but nobody will eat and eventually your whole town just starves. There is not fix right now, so you just need to start over. Thankfully this is the only real issue I have had, and hopefully they will fix it soon.

Banished hits the sweet spot between complexity and fun that makes a relative strategy game amateur feel competent. My satisfaction comes from keeping my people alive. This game has kept me playing for hours, and will keep me playing for hours more. I can't stop playing this. I also cannot recommend it more. A must have for any city builder fan.

Overall Score: 9/10

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff


So, it's time for another iOS review. This one is coming a little late due to some game-breaking issues with the game, which TinyCo fixed for me personally. I'll get in to all that throughout the review, though. 

Family Guy is one of those shows you either love or hate. You love its humor, whether it’s offensive or not, or you hate it. It's pretty simple. There is no in-between. Well, not one that I've met, anyway. Whatever you think, Family Guy is here to stay. Seth McFarlane's shows may be getting cancelled lately (Dad's, Cleveland Show), but his oldest creation appears to be the longest living one. 

I am a huge Seth McFarlane fan, so I jumped at the chance to get the iOS title. I turned it on and I was so excited. There was Peter and Chris getting up to the usual antics, accompanied by hilarious dialogue and a familiar set of buildings and characters. 

The Quest for Stuff  looks very very good. TinyCo has done an amazing job recreating the familiar haunts in the show. Houses look the same, all the way down to minor details. If a building is animated in the show, it’s animated here, such as the sign at the top of The Drunken Clam.

Aside from the multitude of buildings, bits of various episodes have made their way in, as well as characters. Herbert the Pervert, Bonnie, Jerome, Mort, Mr. Pewterschmidt, to name but a few. You can buy objects like the Golden Pool, the Hindenpeter, Petercopter, Crippletron and more. If it’s remotely memorable from the show, it’ll be in the game. Maybe not yet, but soon.

The game contains FaceSpace, which is the Family Guy take on Facebook. When you unlock a character, they’ll appear in FaceSpace, with a profile appropriate to them. As each character levels up, occasional rewards will be a new FaceSpace post, in addition to new items or actions. You will now also receive "Clams" for completing full sets of characters.

"Clams" are the premium currency of the game. You collect coins for completing jobs, but you receive clams for accomplishing bigger tasks, like finishing a full set of costumes or character groups. You can then use them to buy a multitude of characters, or upgrade your workers so you can build more than one item at once. 

As I previously mentioned, the characters themselves level up. Every time a character levels, they’ll gain access to a new action, a new costume that needs to be built at Al Harrington’s Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube store, and more. You can tap a character and then select an action, or if an action requires interacting with something. You can also pick up your characters and drop them on the location you wish them to work. 

You can enter a Multiverse that Stewie has found, which is basically your neighbours. You can them perform 3 actions for coins, XP and sometimes clams, before returning to your own Quahog. A trick to the clams is wait 24 hours, You can collect one clam every 24 hours, but the towns themselves are usually ready to be visited every 20 hours. It can be tricky. 

This game loaded with in app purchases, and most of the fun and fancy buildings will require clams. A negative feature in the game is that you are constantly bothered, both directly and indirectly, to purchase clams. One of the first missions tasks you with buying a $4.99 box of coins, and they’ll give you $4.99 of clams as a bonus. Great offer, but it won't go away as a mission unless you do it.

Unlocking characters is not as easy as just completing a building. To Unlock characters you need to build the specific building, and then you need perform tasks with others so they can drop an item required for the unlock. 

Each action takes a certain amount of time to complete. Sometimes an hour, or even 15 minutes, and sometimes 12 or 24 hours. That's normal in a game like this, though. 

The game can be offensive, but that’s expected since the game is based on the humor of the show. If you’re offended by what some characters say in the show, you’ll be offended here. It is advised you don't play this game if you're easily upset by this humour. 

As I said, I've encountered a few game breaking bugs. One of which was that I couldn't spend money. I couldn't place buildings or anything or the game would come up with an error and crash. So I continued to send them on jobs and contacted TinyCo through their support system. They helped me and within a few days I was back to playing again, no problem. Thanks, Myles! 

Another issue I encountered was that I had started playing the first version they launched, which was before you could create an email account. So I logged in with my Facebook account and that was all fine and dandy, until I attempted to log in on my iPad. It kept attempting to erase my town to replace it with a lvl. 1 town, which was immensely irritating. I contacted them and they fixed it and now it works fine, but it just shows you that you need to report these bugs. If you just try get used to it or deal with it, they may never know, or may not be able to fix it. 

TinyCo are also very open to ideas. You can contact them and talk to them directly on their Facebook page. This may not seem important, but it really is. To improve the quality of a game, it's always important to listen to the fans. This is something that I really appreciate from any game developer, no matter how big or small. 

TinyCo have timed events in-game, which keeps things fresh. For example, a few weeks ago you had a weekend to unlock the Pee-Pant's the Clown costume for Peter. It was fun, and there was plenty to do. Now they currently have a month long event to unlock Cleveland and figure out the answers to a mystery. The first part of that ends tomorrow when a mysterious pyramid that appeared in the town will open and we will find out what is inside. If you want to get started in the game, now is a good time, before the event ends.

However, in the timed events, you really need to play a LOT to unlock the characters. It'd take well over 100 hours to unlock Cleveland, and you only have a month to do it. This is really negative, and puts a lot of pressure on the player to accomplish this before the time is up. 

All in all I love this game. I can't get enough of it. It's fresh and exciting. There is a lot they still need to add to keep peoples attentions, but they are working incredibly hard on it. I think that deserves a little bit of patience, and some community interaction. If you want something to change in the game, tell them. The only place where it loses score is simply the fact that they expect way too much from you to unlock characters in the timed events. 

Overall Score: 9/10

Android Download

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs has had a lot of hype in the past few years. It has been built up to this hackers free roam paradise where Chicago becomes your playground. Did it live up to the hype of it all, or did it fall beneath the pressure, as many games have before it? 

When Watch Dogs was first dropped at E3 2012, we all lost our minds. The first pictures of Aiden Pearce strolling through a perfectly digital version of Chicago was all I needed. Love at first sight. Not because of the bullets flying across the screen, or the shady looking fellow who reminded me a lot of Orion from the TV series "Chuck", but the power he had in his hand. He was turning off traffic lights and blowing the lights all with his phone, and my favourite thing was the profiling feature. The ability to learn about any random person on the street just by looking at them and getting their digital profile. A power that I greatly wish I had. I now look at my iPhone and I'm a little bit mad that I can't do that. Maybe with iOS 10.

Upon loading the game, you're tossed in to a prologue that shows you Pearce before anything happened. I will try and keep away from spoilers in the next part, but there is some things I will need to discuss, so if you're incredibly blind to the story and haven't watched any trailers, you shouldn't be reading this next part. Aiden's niece get's killed in a scare tactic gone wrong. The story is about how your character is dealing with the loss, and trying to figure out who is responsible. There are twists and turns a lot of the way through the story, too. That, combined with learning about his family and how they dealt with it, makes for a good story. It doesn't fail to keep your attention, even if it is rather short. 

The story itself is about 10 hours long, but that is a drop in the ocean that is this game. There are so many side quests and collectables and locations to discover. Each of those reward you upon completion, too. When I had completed the story, I was around 50% of the way through the game progress. The story is realistically about ¼ of the whole game. This is not something I was particularly happy about. I was happy I had more to do after the story, since the game cost a lot and the story wasn't exactly long enough to satisfy the craving for Watch Dogs gameplay that had built up in the long wait for the game. Don't get me wrong, it's a good story, it's just shorter than I would of liked. It was also kind of easy, even on the most difficult setting. I only got stuck on a handful of parts, and when I say stuck, I mean had to do it 4 or 5 times due to my own stupidity, like moving from cover at the wrong time or not looking around.

The characters from the game are really good. The people you meet along the way in the main story are really good, and they do actually raise my overall rating of this game. They were funny, and fun, and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen next. They genuinely made the story a lot better. 

So, story aside, let's talk about the amazing features of the game. The ‘profiling’ system, which allows you to focus on any character in-game and dig into their details, is amazing. It tells you all kinds of stories. People who are sick, people who adopted pets recently, people who earn $22,000 a year, people who earn way more. It’s a clever system that looks to humanise the non-player characters (NPCs) that stroll around these digital recreations of urban America. It also gives relevant moral quandaries about access to people’s private information and the information we share ourselves over the web. I found myself often having to question these things further, but the game never really offers more information. That's not a negative feature about the game, really, but it would be nice to know where these people go from there. 

You can hack money from the people you profile. This is by far the quickest and easiest way to make money in the game, too. Money itself has a very small part to play in the game, but it's fine. As you earn skill points and you level up your hacking abilities, you will get a blue retinal around people of interest. Generally people with large amounts of money for you to take, or people who have songs or cars for you to add to your collection. 

Your phone can hack in to the city, which runs on CTOS. CTOS is an operating system that controls everything from security camera to traffic lights to personal information. You can raise and lower bridges, bollards and blow up steam pipes. These tactics become invaluable in a car chase, which happens way too frequently. 

A feature that bothered me about the driving is something that I have never seen in another game like this. You cannot drive and shoot. Often I have needed to shoot out an enemies tires, or simply eliminate a driver, but I don't have the ability to drive and shoot, so I need to use my surroundings. I am happy to use the powers given to me, but I would also like to shoot at my target. Sometimes I trapped them, got out of my car and shot them then, but shooting from the car would of been a huge time saver and it would of kept me a lot safer, too. 

Something you can do, however, is slow down time. An interesting feature. I didn't know hackers could hack in to the time/space continuum, but that's fine. I accept it, as it saved me quite a bit during the game. You can use this to line up a shot at a target, correct the sniper rifle's sight, which appears to be operated by somebody with Parkinson's. You can also use this ability while you're driving, which I rarely did as it generally ends up making me crash. It would be handy to use this while shooting and driving, but sadly that does not seem to work. 

There is a system that tracks your behaviour in game and labels you based on your work. Either you become the friendly neighbourhood hacker, or this dark evil vigilante that is feared citywide. Killing pedestrians with your car or shooting people who commit crimes are two common no-no obstacles you must overcome. Generally they want you to avoid driving on the path (which is a fair request), and to tackle and beat the living hell out of your targets, which looks so violent that you'd kill them anyway, most of the time. 

Watch Dogs is a little bit (a lot) glitchy at times, too. Several times I was forced to restart a mission because my target simply wasn't there, or I had to fast travel because my whole game literally got stuck, yet my options menu would still work. It was very strange. I think a bit of patch work is required. It didn't really impact my overall experience too much, but it definitely was a huge inconvenience and kept ruining my immersion in the game. 

There are a lot of pretty cool features on your phone, too. You can open your phone's HUD and do things like call for a car, or see what song is on the radio. You can also begin several mini games that allow you to cause chaos in the city, or go on a "digital trip" which is basically as it sounds. 

Aiden’s phone also has a battery life that I am incredibly envious of. There is no point where it needs power. It is also waterproof. Something else I desperately want for my fragile device. His phone can also control the environment in a battle situation. It'll let you manipulate cover so you can move around, or it will trigger an explosive that a soldier might have equipped. You can also time the explosion of devices around the battle zone which can be used to eliminate targets. It's very satisfying to do this. You can do all this while looking through the lens of a security camera, too. I have beaten more than one mission without ever leaving my car, which is a pretty cool and unique experience. 

When Watch Dogs works, it really works. However, when you're trying to hack something and an NPC walks in your way and you select the wrong thing, or you try to pursue a target in a car that hasn't loaded because of a glitch, it get's a little more than frustrating. Another thing that really gets in the way is the multiplayer feature. 

More often than not, I was interrupted by a multiplayer person coming in to my world and targeting me. It's not such a big deal, but it tended to keep happening after I drove half way across the map to accomplish something. More than once it also happened as I would pause the game to go to do something, but the game wouldn't pause because it was considered to be in multiplayer mode, even though I had no idea when I had paused the game. It generally takes a few moments to get the player in your game, obviously, but you may not know when it is happening.

In saying that, the times that I wanted it to work, it really worked. I loved hunting targets and trying to figure out who was hacking me and trying to hack in to somebody else's game was always fun. 

By far my favourite multiplayer feature, however, is the iOS companion app. A friend of mine was able to control a helicopter and attempt to stop me reaching a target, all from my iPhone. He could call the police or hack in to the system and control the environment around me. It worked incredibly well, and was very responsive. This was the one thing I was doubtful about and it worked the best. 

The side quests are pretty good, but they tend to be a little bit repetitive. You just seem to be grinding your way through them by the end. After a certain point I just found myself wanting to do something else, just to get a break from the same thing over and over. I did enjoy it for a long time, though. I just think I overloaded myself on the same things. My main regret was powering through the story. If I could do it again fresh, I would focus on the side quests first and finish with the story.

Although this may seem like a negative review, it genuinely isn't. I'm just trying to focus on the things that need reviewing. I was a fan of the story, I just wish it was longer. I enjoyed the multiplayer, when it wasn't totally invasive to my experience, but then again, it is called "Invasion". You can't turn off invasion mode without erasing your total score, which was really irritating. I didn't want to lose my score, I just wanted to play without being invaded. I don't want to disconnect my Xbox Live just to play a peaceful game. 

Overall, I really did enjoy the game, and I look forward to more DLC and (hopefully) Watch Dogs 2. I just hope they listen to the fans when they make it and fix some of the issues. 

I do not regret buying this game. It definitely is a very enjoyable game, especially for the story. I was just a bit peeved with some of the small things, like the inability to shoot from my car, or the glitches and invasions that wasted a lot of time for me. I will still be picking up all the DLC for it. I don't regret the money I spent on it, either. I really enjoyed the game, it just needs some tweaking. 

Overall Score: 7/10

Fog of the World


This app is probably the best download I have ever made. I have heard Burnie Burns (from Rooster Teeth) talk about this a few times on their podcast, and I went to purchase it and it happened to be the free app of the day. Everything was pointing towards me getting this app, so it was an obvious choice. 

I spend a lot of my time traveling, or planning my next trips. The only other thing I spend most of my time doing is getting achievements, so combining the two is a no-brainer.

So, first, let me explain what Fog of the World even is. Most gamers will be familiar with the "fog of war" concept. Only your immediate surroundings may be viewable, but as your character moves through the game, fog-shrouded or otherwise obscured areas become visible. Fog of World basically obscures the areas on a map that you haven’t yet visited. You leave the app on as you travel anywhere from your local shop, to the other side of the world. It then tracks you and unlocks the fog as you go. An example of this is in the image above, which I snapped early today from my phone. 

There is a red record button at the bottom of the map, which is greyed out when the app is not tracking you. You activate it and the app is then constantly running in the background, Fog of World will track your movements via GPS. You don't need 3G, 4G or WIFI to do this. You simply need GPS. This is ideal for when you are traveling. The more fog you unlock, the more points you get. I am level 14 and I have basically been around the city, and on 3 quick trips outside of the city. 

You unlock achievements for traveling to new countries, continents and distances. For example, there is one achievement called "Nordic Traveller" which simply activates when you've visited all 5 Nordic countries. There is a "traveler" achievement for reaching level 50. There is also an achievement called "King of the World" and to unlock this you need to explore 1% of the planet. It doesn't sound tough, but so far I've only unlocked 0.000000140540203% of the world. 


You can see all of your stats, live. You can see how far you've gone overall, your world area that has been explored and the percent of the world that you have explored, too. Another good feature is to see which countries and continents you have visited. There are badges for each country, which is inside a badge for each continent. 

You can see my stats on the left. Now, I obviously haven't gone far since I got the app, but I'm sure that if you travel often then you will level up fast. 

This app is motivating me to travel more (which is always a good thing) and see more and do more, it can also act as a great resource to keep track of the places you've been too. I have several examples of this. First of all, I now take different routes home each time, just so I can unlock more fog. I've seen more of this city since I got the app than I ever have in all my time coming here and living her put together. Secondly, at the end of this year I am attending a wedding in Portugal and then traveling to Spain, London and America. This app will be with me the entire time, not just so I can unlock for, but so I can actually show my friends and family the path we took and where we went when I tell them the stories of the travels. 

With any app, there is a few downsides. Fog of World works best if it always running in the background, GPS on, recording your progress. You can use an external GPS device, but your every day person doesn't really have something like that. To have Fog of World track all of my progress all of the time, I have to have it running every time I leave the apartment and I leave it going until I get home. I have a portable charger for my phone, but for those who don't, they will be heavily burdened by how quickly this app drains a battery. In saying that, that is not really the apps fault, and the developers have given us a way around this, so I won't punish the app purely based on this. 

If you want, you can use another GPS device and then import the data later. You can also backup all your data in Dropbox, and merge it with other devices you use. You are not restricted to simply using your phone. This is not a feasible method of fixing a problem, but there is not much else that can be done. I have used fitness apps in the past that track my walking and running and they drain my battery just as quickly. My phone was not built to be a GPS device, it simply has the ability to facility GPS requirements. 

All this said and done, Fog of World turns your everyday life and travels into a game, and gives you more inspiration to get out of the house. This app has changed the way I think about getting to a location. It keeps me motivated and inspired to keep moving and to go further. It also motivates me to go to places that I have been before pre-fog of the world. If you like to travel, or maybe if you don't but you want motivation to do something, then this is the key to unlocking that for you. This is truly the best way to combine fitness, travel and exploration with the heart of a true gamer and achievement hunter. 

Overall Score: 10/10